The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III
Genre: Bizarro fiction, horror, absurdism, bat-shit crazy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Summary: Two strangers meet on a train and fall in love. That is until Stacy tells Steve her vagina is haunted and their relationship takes a drastic turn.
After Steve is forced to kill a skeleton that crawls out of his lover’s vajayjay, Stacy decides to send him through the hellmouth, wherein he discovers that her vagina is a gateway to another dimension.
Armed with only a camera and a walkie talkie, Steve is forced to explore Stacy’s nether regions for the prosperity of their relationship, and the chance to delve deeper than any man has delved before.
Chances are if you saw the word “haunted” and “vagina” and were immediately intrigued, curious, or your interest was piqued in any way, Bizzaro fiction is the genre for you.
For those not yet inundated into the literary movement known as Bizarro, it was created ten years ago by small publishing presses and a strong group of devoted authors. It has been described by its creators as, “Franz Kafka meets John Waters”, “Dr. Suess of the post-apocalypse”, “Alice in Wonderland for adults”, and “Japanese animation directed by Stephen Lynch”. The stories always border on the bizarre (often crossing the line) and are generally written in novella rather than novel form.
The most populist example I can compare Bizarro literature to is the movie The Human Centipede: First Sequence which came out last year. To many, Bizarro can be viewed as an extremely weird premise, but with an underlying symbolic message. The aforementioned movie also has an extremely weird premise, but lacks an overall message. Whereas The Haunted Vagina has the theme of man being enslaved by the female vagina, the only message one can ascertain from “The Human Centipede” is to learn to properly change a tire and to never enter a crazy German man’s house alone. If you refuse to learn this lesson, you will inevitably wind up sewn ass to mouth to your best friend.
This is not to say that I put this gross-out movie and this novel (or the genre) on the same level, because the novel itself is vastly superior to this pointless horror film. I am merely trying to make a comparison to something “mainstream” and something “underground”, and since they are both strange, incite a lot of conversation, and are enticing on a base human level, one can’t help but want to watch/read them. In this way, and this way alone, Bizarro and The Human Centipede seem to have some sort of symbiosis.
So… Now that everyone has a vague understanding of what Bizarro fiction is as a genre, we can look more deeply into the novella The Haunted Vagina.
The two main characters, Stacy and Steve, have a tumultuous relationship. Stacy is taller than Steve which is represented through her demanding personality. Steve, as the diminutive figure, is subject to her whims and must put up with her bossiness merely to stay with her. She claims that her haunted vagina turned others on before him, but it merely frightens Steve. Considering the Asian culture’s abundant use of women with penises and tentacle rape, Steve’s yellow fever culminating in his girlfriend having another dimension on the other side of her clitoris isn’t such a bad trade off.
Ultimately, he is forced to choose between leaving Stacy because of the haunted vagina she is so prideful of, or accepting it merely to assuage his male urges. As expected, according to the stigmas of the male gender, he chooses to think with his penis rather than his brain. It is also expected that Stacy has never ever been to a gynecologist, who would have surely written a thesis on her haunted coochie.
The only other visible character in the novella is the humanoid known as Fig. Originally thought to be Stacy’s imaginary friend from childhood who would appear out of her vagina to entertain her, and later as a ghost girl, she is eventually referred to as a latex creature. Steve dubs her this because she appears to be made out of white latex (with a red stomach, hands, and feet), is hairless, and has rubbery looking elongated ears on her head (see book cover above). Fig is a simple minded creature whose idea of “dinner” is making arts and crafts and enslaving Steve for her own enjoyment. This also cements the idea of men being slaves to the female vagina, represented by Steve’s inability to escape, despite his seeming desire to do so.
As with most novellas in the Bizarro genre, The Haunted Vagina only took me an hour or two to read, but several days worth of time to fully digest. Everything about this genre is strange and fun and absurd and hard to put down. And that’s just the way I like my literature.
-Characters are quirky and memorable
-Alternate dimension is well fleshed out and also memorable
-The latex creatures are a vision of genius
-Author explores how we as a species are slaves to our sexual needs
-Because of the short nature of Bizarro literature, it is difficult to get extremely well developed characters
For people just getting into Bizarro literature, I highly recommend you start off with The Haunted Vagina, which is a fun, easy entrance into the genre, and The Bizarro Starter Kit: Orange, The Bizarro Starter Kit: Blue, or The Bizarro Starter Kit: Purple which are anthologies that welcome people to Bizarro.
Coincidentally, The Bizarro Starter Kit: Orange has two of my favourite Bizarro stories, The Baby Jesus Butt Plug by Carlton Mellick III (a dystopic novella in which historical figures are cloned and used as sex toys) and Suicide Girls in the Afterlife by Gina Ranalli (in which the afterlife is a hotel, with hell being run by goth kid Satan and heaven by hippy God).
To learn EVEN MORE, definitely accurate information about Bizzaro fiction, visit the website for the genre: Bizarro Central.